You've heard me say before I don't believe in coincidences. After all, if everything is under God's control then it sort of doesn't make sense to believe in them does it? Hey, I could be wrong, but when funny things happen in this world, especially at this point in time, my ears sort of get sensitive.
The first of the fall feasts of Israel is Rosh Hashanah, or the Jewish New Year, and it will arrive around next Sunday or Monday. Why so ambiguous? Well, it's also the holiday known as the day or hour no man knows because God set up the Jewish calendar as a lunar one rather than a solar one. This means that the first day of the month occurs when the new moon is first sighted in the sky over Israel. In the Old Testament times, the watching was done by priests as well as the general population and when sighted by two witnesses and certified by the priests, the trumpet would sound from the corner of the temple signaling the beginning of the month. Because the percentage of moon visible the first day after no moon varies, it may not be visible to the naked eye until the second day, or even the third.
So why am I bringing all this up? First, remember what I said about coincidences. Many people feel the rapture of the Church will occur on Rosh Hashanah, and present some compelling facts to support their belief. If you are part of the body that believes the tribulation occurs immediately after the body is removed,(remember our little discussion a few weeks ago about the "restrainer" being the Holy Spirit?)then obviously there is a relationship between the time of the rapture, and the beginning of the Tribulation.
Second, what do we know about the beginning of the Tribulation? If we look to the prophet Daniel, we see he tells us exactly what occurs to initiate that period of time.
And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make [it] desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate. Daniel 9:27 KJV
Now so much has been taught about this verse I almost fear to say what I think as the possibility of stepping on someones toes seem inevitable, but I will anyway.
So many have taught that this verse says that "he", the anti-christ, somehow brings peace to the mid-east by establishing an agreement between Israel and it's enemies. However, when I read this verse it tells me something else entirely. I remember when I was very young and first heard someone try to explain what something in the Bible meant in the original Greek or Hebrew, and thinking to myself "what does it matter?" and "is this guy trying to show off or what?". Brother did I have a lot to learn. Actually, if I recall I was in Junior High and the speaker was John F. Walvoord. I'm sure many of you are familiar with that name, so I'm really showing you where I was at that time, and how far I had to go. But I tell you that story to help you understand that it actually can make a big difference in knowing what certain portions of scripture actually say.
There are two words here I believe we need to focus on. The first is "confirm", and the second is "covenant". What I want to do is just copy verbatim the definitions from the Strong's Concordance and let you look and decide what Daniel is trying to tell us.
1) to confirm, give strength 2) to confirm (a covenant)
1) covenant, alliance, pledge
a) between men
1) treaty, alliance, league (man to man)
2) constitution, ordinance (monarch to subjects)
3) agreement, pledge (man to man)
So here is what I think. There is a difference between making a peace agreement, and confirming an existing one! I think many are looking for some politician to emerge on the scene with a whole new set of ideas that magically solve the problems in the Middle East. That's not what I think this verse says. I think what we need to be watching for is someone who thinks he can strengthen the existing agreements and somehow convince the parties involved to abide by them. The existing agreements are called The Oslo Accords, which were signed on September 13, 1993. Curiously, "coincidentaly", that was just 3 days before Rosh Hashanah that year.
Now with that in mind, and remembering my point about coincidences, I want you to think about this. First of all, Rosh Hashanah will arrive sometime between the 20th and the 22nd. Secondly, and this might be news to you, the Prime Minister of Israel, Binyamin Netanyahu and the leader of the Palestinian group Fatah, Mahmoud Abbas, will meet with President Obama in New York at the headquarters of the UN on the 22nd for the purpose of restarting the peace process in the Middle East. In effect, confirming the Oslo Accords. Might this be the "confirmation"? Is it a coincidence this will occur on or right after Rosh Hashanah, the day many feel will be the day of our rapture?
Well don't look at me, I don't know. I just read my Bible and read the news. However, if you are like me and don't believe in coincidences, these two events certainly give us food for thought. You decide.
PS. Here are two links for you. The first is for the article about the meeting on the 22nd, and the second is a website of folks who watch for the New Moon in Israel every month. They will post when the moon is sighted in their "recent messages" in case you are interested.